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Distillery Logo

Image Credit:



Malcolm Waring
*Distillery Manager

Inver House Distillers (Thai Beverages plc)


Barrel Head


Barrel Head

head whisky maker(s)

Barrel Head


Barrel Head

Year Founded

Barrel Head


Pulteney Distillery, nestled in the historic port town of Wick, was founded in 1826 by James Henderson and named after Sir William Pulteney. During the late 18th century until the onset of World War I, Wick was a bustling hub of the herring trade, boasting a massive harbor built in 1808. The boom in trade led to the establishment of Pulteneytown, a new town on the south bank of the river, constructed by Thomas Telford in 1810. This expansion was made possible in part by Sir William Pulteney MP, who played a vital role in Wick's growth as the head of the Fisheries Board. As the population grew, the need for a distillery became apparent.

In 1825, James Henderson, previously distilling discreetly in Stemster, established the Pulteney Distillery, creating whisky amidst the thriving herring industry. The Henderson family retained ownership for nearly a century before selling the distillery to Jas. Watson of Dundee in 1920. However, Wick's town council voted for prohibition in 1922, which coincided with the transfer of Old Pulteney to John Dewar & Sons. In 1924, it became part of DCL but was forced to close in 1930 due to market downturns.

In 1951, local entrepreneur Robert 'Bertie' Cumming breathed new life into the distillery, purchasing it. He later sold both Pulteney and Balblair to Hiram Walker in 1955. Ownership shifted through mergers, eventually landing the distillery under Allied Distillers' ownership. In 1995, Inver House acquired Pulteney, embarking on a journey of renovation and rejuvenation. The Old Pulteney brand was successfully established.

Pulteney's distillation process distinguishes it from others. The wash still boasts a significant boil bulb and flat top, optimizing reflux and the separation of specific alcohols. The spirit still features a purifier pipe and intricate, coiling lyne arm, enhancing reflux and potentially imparting oiliness to the character. The distillation process culminates in condensing through worm tubs, imparting weight to the spirit. Old Pulteney whisky reflects a harmonious blend of heavy, leathery, and oily characteristics, balanced with a fragrant, almost ozonic freshness. The whisky's exposure to the sea air during maturation contributes to its unique character.

-Written (Mostly) by Robots-

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